Jamaican Students For Robotic Olympics In Mexico

Team Jamaica Robotics 2018. (From left), Daniel Palmer, JC; Nassecia McBean, ICHS; Justin Richards, Calabar; Dujon Gouldbourne, KC; Phillip Llewellyn,  JC/Asst. Coach; Paul Pounal, JC/ Technical Director; Gavin Samuels, JC/Coach and Myles Johnson, JC. Missing from this photo is Deanna Flanigan, Chaperone.


By Aubrey Campbell


Five Jamaican high school students, their coaches and a chaperone, will travel to Mexico City, Mexico, on Monday, August 13, where they will compete in the annual Robotics Olympics.

The Olympics will taker place at the City Arena (Arena Cuidad del Mexico), from Wednesday to Saturday, August 15-18.

The team of Justin Richards (Calabar), Nassecia McBean (Immaculate Conception), Myles Johnson and Daniel Palmer (Jamaica College) and Dujon Gouldbourne (Kingston College), will vie for top honors with their counterparts from more than 100 countries in the three-day event.

The team wrapped up training at the JC Robotics Lab on Friday, and according to coach Gavin Samuels, expectations are high, this time around. In the inaugural year last summer in Washington, D.C., the team placed 43rd , among over 160 teams.

Reflecting on last year’s competition, UJAA President, Lesleyann Samuel, an engineer herself, said: “Aside from not knowing each other, they had language and cultural challenges, and in order to win, the students found ways to collaborate and cooperate for the greater good, connecting technology with ‘terra firma’.”

According to a release from FIRST Global (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a duly registered, non-profit organization, headquartered in Manchester, New Hampshire, with a focus on STEM education, teams will compete under the theme  ‘Energy Impact’  at this year’s FIRST Global Challenge (FGC).


This year’s challenge will explore the impact of various types of energy on the world and how they can be made more sustainable. In the challenge, robots work together in teams of three to give cubes to human players, turn a crank, and score cubes in goals in order to generate electrical power. The challenge is based on three Engineering Grand Challenges; making solar energy affordable, making fusion energy a reality, and creating carbon sequestration methods.

The participation of Team Jamaica Robotics (TJR), is a project that the Union of Jamaican Alumni Associations (USA), Inc., (UJAA) has adopted, in partnership with the 53-member alumni associations in the Greater New York area.  UJAA (USA), Inc., is responsible for the organization, coordination, project management, and interfacing with First Global.  Additionally, Jamaica’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has provided substantial resources to assist with travel and housing.








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